The pilots investigate a DRADIS ghost and find a Cylon listening post.
Location: Picon Space
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Cat and Mouse
Scene Number: 789
Somewhere between the drive-by in the ready room and the time when they assemble down on the hangar deck, Stirling has also rounded up Salvae and a couple ECOs for the Raptors. "All right everyone. Civilian freighter coming into the system saw a ghost signal on DRADIS out by one of the moons of the seventh planet." A big gas giant. "Could be nothing, but we're going to go check it out."
"Yes sir!" Aubrey declares at the mission brief. Even if it's nothing, she gets to be out there in the black in a Viper, so it's all good.
Salvae makes a few notes as the briefing comes in. "Copy that. Any friendly traffic expected in the area?" he wonders, glancing up to Stirling. He'd expected that's what was behind Webb getting sacked, and wanted to make sure of traffic before lighting up more friendlies.
The problem with rushing from 'off duty' to 'on duty' for Astraea is her hair. It's not very 'helmet friendly' in general. This means even if she's in her flight suit, she's fighting it into some semblance of 'tame' as they're rushing for the deck. Normally she'd be trying to braid it, but that takes time. She hasn't got that kind of time, so she's trying to twist it back and use elastics to secure it into place. As Stirling gives them the breakdown, she tilts her head to listen. "Recommended load out fer the Raptors, sir? Any activity between here an' there reported since last CAP?"
It doesn't take long for Kell to return, especially when properly motiviated he is out of his duty blues and into his flightsuit with helmet tucked under his arm. Once the briefing begins for the impromptu mission, another recon job but looking at the pilots presence, he notes that it is just over half of the numbers in their previous recon in force mission. A nod of understanding is Razor's answer to what their task will be though.
Stirling shakes her head to the questions. "No friendlies, no known enemy activity in the area." She waits to see if there are any other questions before nodding to the group. "All right. Let's go have a look."
Aubrey gets into her bird , runs through pre-flight checks, and waits for her turn to launch. Once her place in the queue comes up, she streaks down the deck and out into the void, and levels out on Kell's wing, since he's the only other Viper in the flight. "Banshee is five by five and go for recon," she says over the comm.
Socks clicks his pen a few times and nods his head as the clarifications come in. He tucks it in his shoulder pocket and slides his note book into his thigh pocket, "Copy that," he answers, getting up to shuffle out to his viper. The walk around check goes smoothly, only a heads up about a gimble. "If I die from a gimble failure, I'm gonna kill you," he tells his ground chief as he climbs in and helmets up. A few minutes later, his viper is spit out of the Vanguard to join the rest of the flight for the combat patrol.
Satisfied with the feedback on her queries, Astraea gets into her own Raptor and settles in. Once she and her ECO have gotten through their pre-flight checklist, they take off from the deck and meet the others in space. The smooth transition with VTOL as compared to the launch for the Vipers. At least the jocks have likely adapted to their lack of launch tubes by now. She settles into formation, glances to DRADIS. "Flight, Nova. We're clear at the moment." But then, they're still comfortably nearby home base. "Awaiting orders."
With no questions on his end, Kell heads to his assigned Viper once the briefing is concluded. A simple greeting is made with the deckie that is assigned to assist him with the pre-flight, the Viper pilot climbing into the cockpit and once he is settled in with his helmet securely fastened, he goes through the checklist, including the comms check as well. Once that is done, he waits for his turn to launch from the flight deck and soon enough, he joins the rest of the flight in space.
Stirling leads the flight out towards the coordinated relayed by the civilian freighter. "Coming up on the area now. I've got nothing on sensors." It doesn't take long for everyone else to conclude that they're also not picking up anything. The big gas giant provides a luminous backdrop to their patrol. "Let's do a sweep search fanning outward - could be whatever they spotted moved on already. There are a few moons in the area, we can do a flyby on those and see if anything's amiss."
Aubrey banks her Viper to fall into formation, keeping an eye on DRADIS and the other on the stars, looking for any movement. "Copy that Whisper, Banshee is moving out," she says over the comm, and gooses her ship on the appropriate vector.
Socks checks his dradis and doesn't pick up anything of note, he does spend a moment to take in the view of the gas giant they're cruising over. His viper pulls up and stays in formation with the rest of the flight, "Copy that, no contacts," he reports, confirming what the rest of the flight sees, or doesn't. "Are there any mines or operations on these moons?" he wonders. "I'm not picking up any power signatures."
"Copy 'at," Nova's accent is pretty damn notable over the comms. There won't be any missing her in the CIC. Probably ever. She cuts back on the throttle, drawing back to the rear. The Raptor has a stronger sensor array, so it makes sense to fall further back. She still keeps in formation, but just further back as they fall fan out to take a wider sweep over the general area around the planet's moon. "Nothin' yet," she offers over comms after a moment, clarifying with her ECO.
When they arrive at the aforementioned coordinates, Kell is happy to see that there are no asteroids littering the area, just open space and a very large star staring at them. Once the new orders are given though, Razor sends a quick acknowledgement through comms as he usually does, offering no extra chatter, "Razor copies." Now, the Ensign's attention is half on his DRADIS and half on quick glances out of his canopy at the varying visible arcs in case he can see something his DRADIS doesn't pick up.
They coast around the gas giant's space, eyes and scanners working overtime. "Anybody see anything?" Stirling asks. Which is a fair bet she hasn't.
"Just a second. I had a brief flicker of something on sensors, Whisper. From one of the moons," Banshee states over the comm, squinting at her DRADIS and sending the coordinates to the flight.
"Negative, only a storm raging down on that gas giant," Socks reports in, his viper seeming still with little reference in space. Banshee calling in a blip is concerning. "Think it's interference from the storm?"
Silence from the Raptor for a moment as pilot and ECO confer. Astraea lags further behind, fanning further out. Maybe trying to get beyond the interference from the gas giant's storms. After a moment, they chime in: "Nova, flight. Neg on contacts."
Visually, Kell doesn't pick up anything visually nor on his DRADIS as he continues on his vector. He is expecting something Capital sized since it was picked up by Civilian sensors. "Whisper, Razor, negative here No contacts." When he receives the coordinates from Banshee's update, he looks over in the direction where she vectored out on, still continuing on his own heading until told otherwise by the mission leader.
"Could be, Socks. Or not," Stirling amends when Aubrey's report comes in. "Let's go have a look." As the divert that way, they can see that there is something on that moon. Something that doesn't belong. A metallic structure with a dish on it. Listening post? Comms relay? Who knows at this point, but as the Colonial fighters get near to investigate, a wing of six Raiders winks out of jump space on their flank. "Incoming bearing 240. Evasive action."
"Banshee copies, evasive maneuvers!" Aubrey rolls her bird, wing over wing, and she zips over and under. "There's a bogey on your six, Whisper. I'm on it."
Socks' eyes go wide as suddenly a number of raiders appear on Dradis. "Copy that, multiple signals!" he affirms, pulling his viper in a tight bank to starboard to engage the threats. "Moving to engage," he reports.
"Flight, Nova. Six targets. Trackin' 'em now. Movin' int' jammin' range." Astraea quickly throttles up the speed, pushing her Raptor to its limits as she goes into both defensive maneuvers and to close back into a tighter formation with the rest of her wing. Her ECO is quick to bring up their station back from scanning and into working on jamming the raiders arrays. Rather than immediately loosing any missiles, however, the pilot merely begins tracking one of the raiders following the CAG, trying to line up a more precise shot.
Once the orders to investigate is given, Kell banks his Viper to the left as he angles on a new heading, moving on an intercept course with the flight and also the moon in question. When the metallic dish appears on the surface, Razor furrows his brows as he leans forward in his cockpit as if that would give him a clearer picture of what it is. Suddenly, DRADIS lights up with additional contacts and he sends a quick acknowledgement, immediately going into evasive as he tries to angle his fighter around towards the new bogeys. As he turns, Kell spots one of the Raiders diving in on Astraea's Raptor, "Nova, Razor, you have a bandit inbound, trying to get on it!" The angle of attack on the Raider in question is very poor so instead of firing off a wild burst of autocannon fire, the rookie pilot tries to maneuver into a better position while watching his own six.
Aubrey fires off a burst of KEW at one of the Raiders dogging Stirling, but it jukes her shots. She grumbles and dives after another ship lights up her nose and musses the paint a bit. "Coming around again!" she calls over the comm.
The first pass of the engagement has a lot of bullets flying through space, hitting nothing. With luck, they'll be pulled into the gas giant rather than being a navigational hazard until the end of time. Socks flips his viper over and his engines flare as he enters a circle with the raider he's targeting, each trying to cut the orbit just a bit more than the other to give them a clean shot.
The evasive maneuvering seems to work, as Stirling dodges the fire of both the Raiders on her tail. But her missile goes wide. "Queuing up another missile," she reports. "Five on six - we've got this, flight," she says in her impeccably calm voice.
"Razor, Nova... Appreciate th' overwatch." It allows Astraea to keep an eye on their erstwhile CAG. Feeling a bit more confident about her chances, she adapts her own flight patterns so she can let fly the missile. Just one of two, she mumbles a prayer in Scorpian, off-comms, that it hits true.
Choosing to stay evasive appears to be the right choice for Kell as he manages to barrel roll out of the way of the tracers that reaches out for him from the Raider that is chasing him. Inverting his Viper, Razor breaks back towards the Cylon that is trying to get a bead on Astraea's Raptor as he settles in on the bogey's six before trigging a burst of autocannon fire, the cannons spitting out multiple rounds.
"Thanks for clearing that one Banshee, Nova," Stirling tells the crew that took out the one on her tail. She flies right at the other one dogging her, launching a missile that turns it into a brief fireball winked out by space.
Aubrey fills the raider's body full of KEW fire as she sweeps past, then looks over her shoulder to watch the missile from Astraea finish it. "NICE SHOT, NOVA! Any time, Whisper!" she calls over the comm, before she turns on the Raider that just grazed her Viper with weapons fire.
Socks pulls into a tighter turn and does another quick flip, his viper going end over end in a nauseating maneuver, leaving him flying head on with his counterpart. His little game of chicken ends with the enemy raider pulling up, exposing its tail. A sustained burst blasts the cylon's tail to pieces, and Socks flies through the flames, howling with the excitement. He spies a raider on Banshee's tail, and darts in after it in hot pursuit, oblivious to the fact that his previous raider is still smoking in space, pulling in behind him with a ruined tail.
"A'course, Whisper." It'll take Astraea a bit to learn everyone's callsigns, but she's getting there. A bit of her excitement carries through over comms, but it's her first sortie with her new wing. Prior to this, she's been running marine drop offs and med evacs over Picon. This is a bit more what she was hoping for with being posted to the Wolves. The woman draws a breath, adjusting the Raptor's trajectory. She's pushing the engines a bit and the deck might not be too happy with her, but they'll deal. So far, damage to her bird is light. It'll handle.
Razor's rounds impacts the Raider he was targeting solidly, riddling the craft with holes but fortunately for the Cylon, none of the projectiles reached any system critical components. Breaking away after he fires, he dodges the bogey that continues to hound his six, the maneuver gracefully evading the projectiles. He then banks back towards injured Raider while giving Astraea an update, "Nova, Razor. The bogey on your six is wounded but still after you, will try to clear it this time around."
Aubrey barrel rolls her Viper in a climb, then dives back down to come at the raider again, firing off a burst broadsides that scuffs it's shiny hull. "Frakker," she mutters, off comms thankfully. She banks hard to come about again.
Socks' tunnel vision as he zeroes in on the new raider leaves him blind in his six as the other raider pulls in behind him. Fortune is with the aerilonian, the raider's tail is wonkey enough that it can't get a good shot. "What? Oh frak, it's still alive!" He twists in the cockpit, pulling up, watching the wounded raider trying to draw a bead on him. He shakes his head, the one he's tailing is more important to him than the crippled raider.
"Razor, Nova. We see ya, sendin' our final payload after th' tango on yer tail." And indeed, Astraea lets loose the final missile in her racks after the Raider that's hounding the Libran. He might even see it fly by before the Cylon after him goes up in a ball of fire. Apparently, her last CAG saw something pretty decent in her abilities. The petite pilot's aim is not half bad. Both her targets have gone up, though she's out of missiles to let loose now, unfortunately. When her own tail goes up, well: "Much 'ppreciated, Razor. Skies feel bit more clear, now." Lets her ECO feel more cozy in the back seat, at least.
Though it isn't the neatest kill, Kell's burst of autocannon rounds tears into the damaged Raider's tail. Though it doesn't look like a devastating shot, perhaps with the damage the Cylon took from the Colonial Viper's earlier salvo, it triggers a chain of small explosions internally and the bogey breaks apart. "Nova, Razor, your tail is clear." Then there is an explosion behind him as a friendly missile flies by, realizing that Astraea in turn blew up the Raider that was on his tail, "And thanks for the assist, good kill there." Then he searches for the remaining Raider that is after Aubrey, only to see a damaged Raider still after Salvae, "Socks, Razor, your bogey is still operational, watch yourself!" With the warning given, Kell kicks his afterburners on as he dives in on the damaged Raider.
Aubrey is flat out dogfighting with this raider now. She manages to scratch it up a bit more and it grazes her KEW cannon in return. "How do I always find the one Hermes is piloting!?" she grouses.
The vipers and raiders twist and turn in a dogfight, Socks gritting his teeth as the high G turns and flashes of KEW light up his cockpit. "Come oooon Come oooooon!" he grimaces, seeing the raider nearly hit Banshee. More bullets flie over his shoulder as the crippled raider tries to hit him, but there's a flash of flame from behind him as Razor takes it out. "Thanks, Razor!" he calls in, "Let's get this last one so the raptors can nuke that dish!"
There's only one Raider left, and realizing he's seriously outnumbered - he starts to make a beeline away from them. Flying in a straight line and - one might guess - spinning up his jump engines. "Nice shooting, Razor," Stirling says, "Just one left."
With the single Raider remaining, Astraea is already adjusting herself in formation towards the aforementioned dish. Largely to start trying to get guncam footage of the overall area. Her ECO is still working on jamming, but she can at least start on the beginnings of the recon job. Get the lay of the land, the positioning of the station: location on the moon, where it's placed in relation to the gas giant, and the other 'overview' queries that will be on their AAR. The rest can be had once the final bogey is downed and they can get in closer to collect data before taking it out.
Razor's steep and aggressive angle of attack on the Raider pursuing Salvae works out in devastating fashion. As the distance between his Viper and the disc shaped Cylon craft closes, Kell presses down on the trigger stub causing his autocannons to roar to life. The rounds accelerate out towards its intended target and the ones that are tracer rounds show the amount of lead that the Ensign provided when he took aim was the perfect amount. The Cylon Raider's cockpit is pulverized and the craft soon breaks up right after. "Socks, Razor, no problem, your tail is clear." Then also a quick acknowledgement to Stirling, "Thank you Whisper." And there is indeed just one left, Kell watching the remaining bogey tries to flee, his heading moving to try to cut off its escape.
Aubrey gets one last burst of KEW fire, this time scorching across the raider's wing. She zips by then turns to see her flight-mates finish it off. "Nice shooting, Wolves!" she calls over the comm.
Socks grins as he sees the raider gets splashed before it's able to jump away. "Good work, flight, Raptors, you're all clear to take out that dish!" he says, glancing back to the small moon with the listening post.
"Nice work all. Belay that, Socks," Stirling reports when he talks about taking out the listening post. "Intel might be able to snag something useful off that thing. We've marked its position, and I've got a Picon squadron heading in to our position. Let's pull back to refuel and re-arm."
Socks quirks an eyebrow at the order, frowns and grudgingly nods his head, "Copy that, forming up."
"Flight, Nova," Astrara calls over comms in answer to Stirling's orders. "We're collectin' some imagery an' positonin' details to bring in." Guncam and whatever her ECO can pull down likely. Probably calculations on where the dish is aimed and its angle of reception. Things like that. Once the other officer gives the all clear that they've got all they can manage, they pull back and rejoin formation to return to the barn.
There is no escape for the Cylon as all three Vipers riddle it with projectiles, Kell pulling away once the Raider is destroyed. His eyes do go towards the moon, brows furrowing slightly. When it is mentioned that they are to RTB, handing over the area to the local forces, Razor answers with his usual acknowledgement, "Razor copies, forming up to Ar-Tee-Bee."